I sat down with the owner of Shocktoberfest and we talked about this incredible haunt and how it came to fruition. Thank you Patrick for taking the time to talk with Horrornews.net
First off, Thank you for the tickets. Shocktoberfest is incredible. Please tell us how did this start and what did it start with originally?
Patrick- So, I own a food service company. We do catering, food services, vending and so on. Twenty eight years ago I was doing a food service for a local camp and they needed a fund raiser and they had a regular hayride. I suggested why don’t we do a haunted hayride and make it a little scary and you can charge a little bit more and you’ll make more money. I got my family and friends to help out and we did it. We raised a lot of money for them and they liked it but it grew very quickly beyond the scope and capabilities of the camp. We had traffic issues, parking issues and line issues. We couldn’t continue there and my property Willow Glen park is not that far from the camp so they started doing a golf tournament as a fundraiser and then we brought the hayride here. The hayride was our only attraction and we started doing the hayride and then we built The Unknown which was back then, called The Asylum. In 2004, we built the Prison of the Dead and then we built the Midway, the food stands and the food trucks. Twenty eight years later and this is what we got.
I loved The Unknown because it plays a little bit on everything. Did you grow up loving horror or haunted attractions?
Patrick- I always enjoyed The Munster’s, Scooby-Doo, normal stuff as a kid and adventures. I like being creative. I am a business mind but I also like being creative. I am a business mind but also a creative mind. I use both sides of the brain. Being creative is a lot of fun for me and a great outlet but then also the business of what we do is important so you can continue to play and have fun with it.
The Prison of the Dead was absolutely amazing. How did that concept happen?
Patrick- I know I wanted to build something bigger than anybody else had. I wanted some indoor and outdoor elements to it. Most haunted houses in a multi-element park are about 2,500 square feet. So, when I built The Asylum which is now The Unknown, that’s actually about 6,000 square feet, so I wanted it to be bigger than the average haunted house. Then when I wanted to do the prison, I wanted to do something bigger than that. So, I went 50,000 square feet so it’s massive. Add the bus ride to it and the pre-shows and it’s one of the largest haunted houses on the East coast. So that is on its self an attraction but that’s part of this massive scream park that we have here. It’s almost unheard of. You just don’t see anything that big as part of something that is also big.
I have been to a lot of events and to some incredible haunts but this is just unreal.
Patrick- Awesome, we are constantly evolving. Tonight, what we’re doing is all the managers are riding the hayrides and going through the attractions and taking notes. That’s what we were just doing before you came in. We are working for next year and the year after. In two years it will be our 30th anniversary so we want towards bigger and better for the big 30th anniversary.
What do you want to say to all the guests and visitors and the people who have already attended Shocktoberfest? What do you want them to take away or what do you want them to know from your perspective?
Patrick- People ask me all the time why do people pay to be scared? It’s not so much being scared, they are paying to be entertained. Entertainment is the use of emotion. Generally we pay for people to make us laugh and we go to the movies. Why do people go to scary movies? There’s all types of emotions and anytime you can entertain someone on a level where you’re entertaining all the senses and you utilize different emotions and techniques, you have done a good job in entertaining them. For the people who have come out, THANK YOU! I hope they had a good time, I hope we met the expectations or exceeded their expectations. It’s just about having a good time, escapism. You don’t have to worry about anything, all you have to worry about is the next zombie and where they are going to pop out.
I thank you so much and everyone did an amazing job and Shay who painted my face is amazing. It is incredible. We had so much fun and thank you for taking the time to talk with Horrornews.net It was a blast! So much fun! Everyone needs to come to Shocktoberfest! Thank you.
Patrick- Thank you. Thank you for coming.